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Lake YRA: Lake Ontario's unprecedented high water levels disrupting clubs and racing

QUOTE-UNQUOTE: The boating and racing community around Lake Ontario is waiting and watching as the lake continues to present obstacles to our pastime. I’m sure I don’t have to inform anyone of the challenges that confront us this year. Yacht clubs all around the lake are struggling with the high water. Some club’s physical buildings are out of danger while others have water lapping at their foundations. The waterfront on all have issues with fixed docks being under water, shorelines that have been awash, floating docks that are higher than access points, and power and water that may or may not be available. Personally, as fleet captain at the Sodus Bay Yacht Club, I have had to cancel our club series racing from May 22nd through June 11th. The SBYC Challenge Cup follows in two weeks. Therefore, I am currently looking to possibly move that event further into the summer. We are currently preparing to extend the steel pilings that hold our floating docks in place since they are not tall enough to accommodate the water level. Additionally, the marine contractor that installs the docks doesn’t have spuds on their barge long enough to hold it in place at the current water height. All of our fixed docks are under water. Our club seawalls have been breached and the crawl space under the club is being constantly pumped out by four regular pumps and one industrial pump. Although we have been able to open the club for social events, the parking lot may or may not be filled with water depending on the wind direction, and muck boots are a must to visit the club for dinner. At our LYRA Executive Committee meeting last week we heard from a variety of people about the condition of their clubs. Some have floating docks in and have begun racing. Most others have no on-the-water activities happening at all. An extensive list of clubs is being circulated that tell boaters that their facilities cannot accommodate vising boats until further notice. Bob Carey, President, Lake Yacht Racing Association, via the LYRA Facebook page.

[LYRA is one North America's oldest regional yacht racing associations, comprised of clubs on both the Canadian and American sides of Lake Ontario and eastern Lake Erie. It was formed in 1884 and has been running inter-club racing for over 130 years. There are numerous newspaper and website articles about the historically high-water levels affecting Lake Ontario this year, despite the authorities letting water out of the eastern end of Lake Ontario in record amounts (which is partially flooding Montreal and surrounds, including the Montreal's famous Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club on Lake St. Louis). With all that, I am reading that Lake Ontario's water level is expected to go down in the next month by only 3 inches. –TFE]

Waves at Sodus Point on an angry Lake Ontario in May. The unprecedented high-water levels won't recede, authorities say, until later this summer. Photo: Jamie Germano, Democrat and Chronicle Media Group.

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